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College & Career Training in Alaska

18Dec

Earn while You Learn – Education that Pays (Literally!)

Have you ever thought that pursuing postsecondary education would mean making money instead of borrowing it to be able to study? Have you ever heard of a training program that not only equips you with book knowledge, but also with a set of very specific skills, where you had to apply the knowledge you learned from books; and, on top of that, pays you to do so?! Sounds almost too unrealistic to be true, but it is and you’d better believe it! It’s called APPRENTICESHIP, and if I were you, I would memorize the word and jump right on it, because it’s a hot topic for a bunch of good reasons across Alaska and the nation alike.

Some folks are still convinced that apprenticeship programs are only in construction trades, but if you visit the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development website, you’ll see how apprenticeship has expanded to include occupations in industries such as aviation, education, maritime, healthcare, hospitality, mining, automotive, retail, etc. New industries and new occupations are being added to the mix on a regular basis.

In fact, if you were to look across the nation, apprenticeships can be found in virtually all industries. For a list of all available occupations in Registered Apprenticeship, visit the U.S. Department of Labor website, and keep in mind that the number continues to grow (exciting!).

You may ask: “How is apprenticeship different from other job training, education and work-based training programs?” Apprenticeship programs, which can last from one to six years, connect education and work simultaneously: apprentices gain industry-recognized credentials, and, in many cases, college credits that can lead to an associate of bachelor’s degree.* Apprenticeship programs provide on-the-job training and job-related instruction. The on-the-job training is conducted in the work setting under the direction and supervision of an experienced mentor.

*Did you know that in October 2017 the University of Alaska system, the UA Anchorage Community and Technical College, and several joint apprenticeship training programs joined the U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship-College Consortium (RACC), a national network of postsecondary institutions that give apprenticeship completers credit toward an associate or bachelor’s degree?

Apprenticeship is also a job, and apprentices earn competitive wages – a paycheck from day one and incremental raises as knowledge and skill levels increase. In other words, the more book knowledge apprentices achieve and the more advanced their skill performance level is, the more money they make.

The skill performance level is usually measured by the number of hours of on-the-job training. The progressive wage increases are based on a percentage of wages paid to a journey level worker at the place of employment. The starting wage for apprentices is 50% of the journey level wage, and, on average, it’s $16.50 per hour.

So let me put it simply, a person who enters an apprenticeship program acquires the knowledge and learns the skills of a given occupation, and makes money while doing so. No  student loans to repay! How liberating is that!? No wonder apprenticeship has been called ‘College without Debt’. But apprenticeship is much more than that! Apprenticeship is a hands-on career training, an education, nationally recognized industry credentials, and a career, because once an apprentice completes an apprenticeship program, he/she will be on his/her way to a successful, long-term career with a competitive salary, and no education debt!

I have heard first-hand testimonials from individuals who either still are in an apprenticeship program, or have graduated from one. They were all told in high school that college was the only way; their high school counselors never promoted apprenticeship as an equal, viable postsecondary pathway. When they finally stumbled upon apprenticeship, their life was forever changed. Today they are involved in outreach efforts in hope that the perception of apprenticeship and CTE (Career and Technical Education) will finally change.

The following statement comes from a graduate of the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee’s Machining program: “I bought my first house at 26! How many people can say that? In fact, my high school friends who went to college are moving back with their parents because they simply can’t afford to live on their own! Yes, they got their bachelor’s (or not, because many dropped out of college without any credential, yet with student loans), but they lack specific hands-on skills that so many jobs require nowadays. And how are they supposed to build a family and afford life if they start off with $100,000 or more in debt? I feel so fortunate and grateful for the life I have thanks to apprenticeship. It was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime, and I encourage everyone to look into apprenticeship. You won’t regret your choice, you will be proud of it!”

If you want to find out more about the benefits of apprenticeship, please visit ACPE’s Success Center. Our knowledgeable College & Career Specialists will assist you with determining if an  apprenticeship program might be right for you, and figuring out how to go about enrolling in it. Think Apprenticeship!

 

If you need any assistance, please come by the ACPE Success Center located at the Dimond Center Mall.  For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 1 (800) 441-2962, option #4.

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